It’s Time to Get Involved with the Environment

If the Environment is Important to You, It’s Time to Get Involved

There’s been a lot of discussion about the government’s role in protecting our environment, especially since the new administration came into office. Recently, there have been many articles about the impact the new administration will have on the environment; from what our new president can do to reverse climate policy, to reports on potential changes at agencies overseeing the environment.

Even if the government reduces its involvement in protecting the earth, there are still things everyday people can do to impact climate change. The responsibility for stopping climate change has always been a shared one: the government implementing policies and laws for businesses, and citizens adopting habits and lifestyles that decrease carbon emissions and waste. Just how much difference individuals can have on climate change is often underestimated. Looking at just one area from the government’s Energy Star program we can see that individuals can have a real impact. The data shows that if every U.S. homeowner increased the energy efficiency in their house by 10 percent, the decrease in carbon emissions would be equal to 25 million fewer cars being driven. And, if you’re ready to go beyond your individual contribution, consider getting involved in with an organization that supports the environment.

If you’re interested in taking on a leadership role in fighting climate change and improving our environment, Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment (ACE) could use committed and talented volunteers to join our board of directors. Here’s a listing of the talents and skills we that can help ACE get more citizens involved:

Board of Directors Available Positions:

  • Website Development Committee Chair
  • Board Recruitment and Development Liaison
  • Communications
  • Fundraising and Development
  • Student Board Member

If you’re interested in applying for positions on the ACE board of directors, the deadline for submitting applications is February 15. Details about ACE, the board of directors and descriptions of the board positions are available from the links.

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Energy Masters Receives Energy Efficiency Award

Energy Masters Program Receives Awards for  Leadership in Energy Efficiency
and Promoting Inclusionary Practices in Housing

Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment, Virginia Cooperative Extension and Arlington THRIVE’s Joint Program Educating People How to Save On Energy Garners Virginia State Prizes

Arlington, Virginia (December 20, 2016) – The Energy Masters program received awards for leadership in energy efficiency from the Virginia Governor’s Housing Conference Awards and the state’s inaugural Virginia Energy Efficiency Awards, attended by Governor McAuliffe.

Energy Masters, a joint program of Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment (ACE), Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE) and Arlington THRIVE, was honored on November 17, 2016, at the Virginia Governor’s Housing Conference, with the Best Affordable Housing Energy Conservation Effort award, which recognizes innovative, effective efforts that address housing needs in the state. The program received a second award from the first-ever Virginia Energy Efficiency Leadership Awards on November 29, 2016. The program was awarded third place in the Low-Income Category. This award acknowledges demonstrated commitment to energy conservation and prudent use of resources in the renovation of affordable housing properties. Affordable housing properties that have participated in the Energy Masters program are realizing benefits from the energy and water saving services performed by volunteers through increased energy efficiency and a decrease in utility bills totaling $39,623 that was reflected in a 2016 analysis. The program serves residents in Arlington County and the City of Alexandria.

Energy Masters program coordinator, Laura Garcia Olson, acknowledged how important these awards are for the growth of the program: “The Energy Masters program is an example of actions individuals can take to impact climate change in our community. We’re hopeful that the awards recognition will help bring more attention to tactics to save energy and the importance of adopting a sustainable lifestyle.”

The Energy Masters program is a highly successful model that educates citizens how to save energy and conserve water and provides community engagement and volunteer activism. It directly addresses climate change and water conservation, improves the lives of residents living in affordable housing and builds stronger community connections by engaging volunteers in service projects. The program provides volunteers with extensive training in energy efficiency and water conservation, which they use in service to the community by making improvements to affordable housing buildings and by providing education. It also helps low-income families reduce their energy and water bills and improve the comfort of their homes. Energy Masters encourages behavior change in residents of all ages, cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds, thereby reducing the carbon footprint of the residents and conserving resources, which benefits the entire community.

To learn more about Energy Masters and how you can get involved, visit the website at

For more information contact:
Lydia Cole, Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment
[email protected]

Maraea Harris, Virginia Cooperative Extension
[email protected]

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ACE Student Board Member Positions

Are you a current student at an Arlington high school with an interest in environmental issues? Do you need community service hours?

If so, consider becoming a student board member with Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment (ACE). By joining the leadership of ACE you will:

  • Learn how a nonprofit board functions.
  • Work with a community board member mentor.
  • Shadow board members to experience leading meetings, finance, fundraising, and organizing events.
  • Contribute to our efforts to engage Arlingtonians in creating a sustainable community.
  • Develop communication and management skills.
  • Meet other students who share similar interests.

ACE collaborates with a broad cross-section of the community, including Arlington schools, businesses, places of worship, and local government. And, we emphasize service to low-income residents.

We plan to have four to five student board positions in 2017-2018 and would like to represent as many Arlington high schools and programs as possible. To learn more about our student board positions and how to apply, please visit our board openings page. Applications for the 2017-2018 term should be submitted no later than February 15.

Questions? Contact Elenor Hodges via email or 703-228-6427.

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Thanks for Your Support on #GivingTuesday!

We appreciate your donation to ACE on Tuesday, November 29, as part of the #GivingTuesday global giving event.

ACE is making a difference in our schools, in our parks and streams, and in our neighborhoods.

We hope that you’ll consider a gift donation to ACE for friends and family during this season of giving.




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Rebates Help Achieve Home Energy Efficiency

Are you ready to increase your home’s energy efficiency? Did you know being a homeowner can help you

Increase your home's energy efficiency with a AIRE Home Energy Rebate.

Increase your home’s energy efficiency with a AIRE Home Energy Rebate.

contribute to improving the environment? Even little things can make a big difference. And, it’s no surprise, larger changes have more impact on the environment, and many changes increase your home’s energy efficiency and decreases your monthly energy bills.

If you live in Arlington and own a home, this may be a good time to consider upgrading water heaters, heating, and cooling systems, or adding insulation, and sealing drafty windows, doors, and attics. The Arlington Initiative to Rethink Energy (AIRE) Home Energy Rebate program is offering rebates to Arlington homeowners who make approved upgrades with appliances that meet energy efficiency minimums.

How upgrades impact energy efficiency

Home improvements and appliance upgrades are not small decisions. So, it’s important to understand the facts and know how these upgrades may affect your energy costs. According to Virginia Energy Sense, the state energy education program:

  • As much as half of the energy used in your home goes to heating and cooling.
  • The average home loses 15-35 percent of the energy used to heat and cool air because of leaks.
  • Keep in mind that Energy Star certified products use up to 70 percent less energy that other models.
  • Leaks and drafts cause unnecessary energy waste and expense. Caulk and air seal all doors and windows to reduce drafts and cut energy bills by as much as 32 percent.

AIRE’s energy rebate program helps homeowners realize the benefits of an energy efficient lifestyle. In addition to the rebates offered by AIRE, participants are eligible for the federal energy tax credit. For more information on rebate amounts, eligibility and to apply, click here.

The benefits of transitioning to energy efficient systems, improving your insulation, and sealing leaks are important steps to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, saving energy, and money on your energy bills over the long term.

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ACE Idling Survey Results in Honor of Air Quality Awareness Week

This week – May 2-6- is Air Quality Awareness Week!

This year, Arlington is again receiving a grade of F for its air quality from the American Lung Association.

In response to parent concerns about vehicle idling at and around schools and a recent rise in asthma among Arlington County elementary students, ACE circulated a survey in March to gather information about the state of the problem in Arlington Public Schools. Idling refers to running a vehicle’s engine when the vehicle is not in motion. Idling increases the amount of vehicle exhaust in the air; this exhaust contains pollutants that are linked to asthma and other health problems. Idling also wastes fuel and money. ‘ 

ACE received nearly 160 responses from community members. Of those who completed the survey, 74% observed cars idling at least three minutes at a time and over 50% of respondents indicated that idling occurred frequently or on a daily basis. Some respondents indicated seeing cars idle for 20 minutes or more.

Many noted concerns about school bus idling as a problem both during the school day and also in conjunction with after-school sports and activities, including at community centers. APS has a current policy that prohibits its buses for idling for more than 5 minutes at a time. Tour bus idling was also cited as a problem.

With this information in hand, ACE now seeks to work with interested partners to broadly educate the public about the health and environmental risks of vehicle idling and address the issues raised in the survey. Most responses indicated support for signage in drop-off areas. Many respondents emphasized the need for more broad efforts toward anti-idling campaigns that would involve county support as well as support from principals and PTAs.

Several respondents called for increased support for walking and biking to school as well as improved bus routes and noted a need to decrease the number of parents driving children to school.

ACE is working with members of the Environmental Health & Asthma Subcommittee (EHAS) of the APS School Health Advisory Board to identify next steps with long-term goals to develop an education campaign to reduce vehicle idling. Anyone interested in participating in this initiative is invited to’ contact Elenor Hodges for more information: [email protected] or 703-228-6427.

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Climate Action Group

ACE Climate Action Group Meeting
Wednesday, April 20, 7:00 to 8:30 p.m.
Walter Reed Community Center, 2909 16th Street S., Arlington, VA 22204
Interested in working locally on climate issues? ‘ The ACE Climate Action Group is’ ‘ coordinating climate action activities focusing on Arlington County and Virginia policies as well as supporting leaders working on sustainability in HOAs and Arlington civic associations. The group meets monthly on the 3rd Wednesday.’ To RSVP, contact Stephanie Burns at’ [email protected].

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Go Gaga for Green

This family-friendly earth day celebration will be held at Mason’s Arlington Campus. Go Gaga for Green is organized and produced by George Mason’s Office of Community and Local Government Relations, Arlington Public Schools, Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment along with support from Arlington County, and the local business community. Go Gaga for Green celebrates environmental sustainability in Arlington with food, fun and live entertainment. Two signature features of the event are Operation Rain Barrel, a program that engages Arlington public school students in creating amazing artistic rain barrels while they learn about sustainability, and The Arlington Green Patriot Awards which honors individuals and organizations that exemplify their commitment to environmental sustainability. The rain barrels are on display and sold through a silent auction to raise proceeds. Additionally, the nominees and winners of the Arlington Green Patriot Award are recognized and announced.

Details and Sign-Up:’ Here!

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Green Home and Garden Tour

Sunday June 5th,’ 1 ‘“ 5 pm

Green Home and Garden Tour. Come on this tour to get inspiration and ideas to go green at home!’  The 13th annual tour will include a mixture of new green homes, green renovations, and watershed-friendly gardens.’ ‘  See homes featuring energy efficient technologies, solar elements, water saving technologies, native plants, rain gardens, and rain barrels, wildlife habitat, and more! This tour is sponsored by Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment, Arlington County DES, and BikeArlington.’  The tour brochure with locations will be online at’‘ by May 15th.



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Potomac Watershed Cleanup

Potomac River CleanupJoin ACE in the 28th annual’ watershed cleanup with more than 500 sites across the watershed. ACE volunteers will meet at N. Glebe and Chain Bridge Roads. For details on other sites along the Potomac, visit’  Details about the ACE meeting location will be sent upon registration.

What you’ll need:

  • Sturdy shoes that can get wet
  • Work gloves if you have them. If you don’t have any, don’t let that stop you! We’ll have some gloves on hand.
  • Long pants and long sleeve shirt
  • Bottled water (reusable, of course!)
  • Sunscreen

NOTE: This site is fairly rocky with several steep areas.’  It is not recommended for children under age 10. Volunteers under 16 must be accompanied by an adult. No drop-offs permitted.

Please help spread the word and share information with others who might also be interested in volunteering. Thank you!

Please sign up at:’ Potomac River.

Questions?’  Email [email protected] or call 703-228-6406.

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